- White House: No choice but to act now on climate change
- HHS: ‘Donut hole’ reforms saved Medicare enrollees $11.5 billion since 2010
- Boston-area tornado rips 100 homes: ‘Are we in Kansas?’
- Rush Limbaugh: ‘There is no journalism anymore’
- Scott Brown struggles for political traction in New Hampshire Senate race
- California’s Jerry Brown cites God, ‘religious call’ to embrace illegals
- Hamid Karzai’s cousin killed by suicide bomber at Eid al-Fitr party
- Obama thanks Muslims for ‘building the very fabric of our nation’
- Israel flattens home of top Hamas leader, takes out power plant
- Texas man arrested for powder-letter hoax
Rosie Napravnik gears up for Derby by dominating Kentucky Oaks with Untapable
Question of the Day
LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Untapable's dominant effort in the Kentucky Oaks gave Rosie Napravnik big momentum in her bid to become the first female jockey to win the Kentucky Derby.
Whether she follows up aboard Vicar's In Trouble on Saturday in the 140th Run for the Roses and becomes the eighth rider to complete the Oaks-Derby double remains to be seen, but Napravnik is making the Oaks her domain.
Untapable gave Napravnik her second Oaks win in three years and put her on the brink of history by surging past My Miss Sophia entering the stretch and rolling to a 4½-length victory Friday in the 140th Oaks at Churchill Downs.
"We got the first half completed, so we're moving on to the second half of the double," Napravnik said.
The overwhelming favorite in the $1 million race for 3-year-old fillies earned, Untapable raced her third straight victory and fifth in seven starts. She has won her last three by a combined margin of nearly 22 lengths.
"We got into a great position," said Napravnik, who has ridden the horse for all but one start. "She runs her best when she can get into a great stride and she relaxes so nicely. She has grown up and she is maturing. She is magnificent."
Untapable's victory also turned up the spotlight on trainer Steve Asmussen, who is being investigated by Kentucky and New York racing officials after an animal rights group alleged he and his former assistant mistreated horses in their care. Asmussen sidestepped the matter, choosing instead to focus on his horse's stellar closing run.
However, Winchell Thoroughbreds racing manager David Fiske conceded that the attention was "a little bit" of a distraction, adding, "I'd be lying if I said it wasn't. ... But we thought we had the goods when we came in here and she proved us right."
Thanks to Napravnik, Untapable positioned herself to charge at just the right time.
Breaking from the far 13th spot, Untapable stayed within reach of early leaders Sugar Shock, My Miss Sophia and Thank You Marylou before getting clear outside turning for home. The winner ran 1 1/8 miles in 1:48.68, the race's second-fastest time, and paid $4, $3.20 and $2.60.
"The development of the filly, I think Rosie has been a key part of it," Ausmussen said.
My Miss Sophia returned $4.20 and $4.40, and Unbridled Forever paid $6.
Untapable's dramatic finish followed some pre-race suspense involving two horses who violently balked in the gate.
The first was Empress of Midway, partly owned by Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino. She thrashed and flipped in the gate and then sat down for a tense moment. Jockey Corey Nakatani wasn't hurt in the fracas and stood by watching as workers quickly got the horse out; she walked away uninjured but was quickly scratched.
"She just went up in the gate and lost her balance and kind of sat down on her haunches and couldn't get herself back up in the right position," attending track veterinarian Larry Bramlage said afterward. "We didn't see anything obviously wrong and she's back to her barn."
Minutes after horses in surrounding gates were guided back in, second betting choice Fashion Plate also had issues before settling down. She hopped out of the gate and quickly fell behind in finishing 11th of 12 entrants.
"She was real tight in the gate," jockey Gary Stevens said. "When (Empress of Midway) flipped, she tried to flip. She has never had to stand in the gate that long and she's used to smaller fields. As soon as the gate opened, my race was over."
At that point, Napravnik was guiding Untapable to one of her smoothest victories before 113,071, which is saying something considering how dominant she has been this year. It was no contest after Untapable caught My Miss Sophia, quickly gaining a length and widening the gap.
- GOP Senate candidate: Obama needs to visit Central America
- D.C. seeks to stay judge's order allowing gun owners to carry in public
- Hillary Clinton: Forget Obama, George W. Bush made her 'proud to be an American'
- Border surge puts Obama legacy on immigration at stake
- EPSTEIN: All IRS roads lead to the archivist
- Illegal immigrants demand representation in White House meetings
- Smugglers, rainstorm combine to poke holes in border fence
- Federal appeals court rules against Virginia's gay marriage ban
- PRUDEN: When the hangman botches the job
- Romney would win popular vote in rematch against Obama: CNN poll
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world
Fighting in Iraq